TicketManager | Fun with Numbers: A’s Financials Shed Light on MLB Sponsorship Revenues

Transparency is a great thing. Except when it is not, such as when a business wisely wants to shield critical information from competitors and others in a position to take advantage of it.

So as much as knowing the details of other organizations’ partnership deals—whether total revenue, individual deal terms, valuations, etc.—would be immensely helpful for sponsorship sellers and buyers across the industry, it’s rare when those specifics emerge from behind the corporate veil.

But every so often—occasionally through litigation documents that are made public, sometimes through investigative reporting or leaked information—a financial nugget emerges that provides some useful intelligence and context.

Such a figure has become public thanks to Forbes senior contributor Maury Brown, who has long reported on the business of baseball.

In late August, Brown wrote that Oakland A’s managing partner John Fisher must have used “an accounting trick” to claim in an interview with Las Vegas media that the team would lose $40 million this year. Subsequently, an unnamed “high-placed baseball industry insider with intimate knowledge of the (A’s) finances” shared details of the team’s P&L with Brown, who published those specifics in a Forbes piece this week.

Among the interesting numbers reported was that the team’s sponsorship revenue in 2022 was $10 million and is projected to drop to $6 million this year, reflecting the lame-duck period as the club readies to leave Oakland for Vegas.

Using the slightly more usual year of 2022, we can use the $10 million figure as benchmark to surmise what other MLB teams earn from corporate partnerships. This is of course far from an exact science (more on that below), but an obvious method would be to use each franchise’s overall value as compared to the A’s to calculate sponsorship revenue.

For example, using Sportico’s team value rankings, the A’s are worth $1.31 billion. The most valuable league franchise, the New York Yankees, are worth $7.13 billion, or 5.44 times the A’s. Thus we can deduce that the Yankees’ sponsorship revenue would be $54.43 million.

Before we look at the calculations for each MLB team using this formula, a few caveats.

One, while Brown was able to verify some of the information he received with independent third-party sources, it is not clear if the sponsorship figure is among that group.

Two, the elements of valuation that a potential buyer would use to determine investment are not the same as those of a potential brand partner.

It’s a reasonable assumption that given their pending move, low attendance and lack of on-field performance over the past few years, the A’s have been the bottom of the barrel when it comes to attracting local sponsorship. But they are not the least valuable team in the league. Sportico ranks them 26 out of 30 MLB teams, higher than the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Rays and Florida Marlins.

In other words, I would be willing to bet that the sponsorship revenue of every other team, including those bottom four, is considerably higher than $10 million.

Three, there are plenty of variables that will skew a particular franchise’s revenue numbers—such as whether they can lay claim to stadium naming rights. Some of those factors would figure into the total team valuation figures, while others would not.

With those caveats established, it’s still an interesting exercise to use the A’s figures to look at the possible correlation between franchise value and sponsorship revenue, so I did the math and here are the results:

Team.                                                                      Projected Sponsorship Revenue

New York Yankees                                                  $54.43 million

Los Angeles Dodgers                                             $40 million

Boston Red Sox                                                       $39.77 million

Chicago Cubs                                                           $35.8 million

San Francisco Giants                                              $29.08 million

New York Mets                                                        $21.53 million

Atlanta Braves                                                         $20.99 million

Houston Astros                                                       $19.69 million

Philadelphia Phillies                                               $18.78 million

Los Angeles Angels                                                 $18.7 million

St. Louis Cardinals                                                  $18.63 million

Washington Nationals                                           $16.64 million

Toronto Blue Jays                                                    $15.04 million

Texas Rangers                                                         $14.73 million

San Diego Padres                                                   $14.27 million

Chicago White Sox                                                 $14.05 million

Seattle Mariners                                                     $13.74 million

Baltimore Orioles                                                   $12.21 million

Minnesota Twins                                                    $11.91 million

Milwaukee Brewers                                               $11.45 million

Detroit Tigers                                                         $11.15 million

Cincinnati Reds                                                      $10.61 million

Colorado Rockies                                                  $10.46 million

Cleveland Guardians                                            $10.38 million

Arizona Diamondbacks                                        $10.16 million

Oakland A’s                                                             $10 million

Pittsburgh Pirates                                                 $9.62 million

Kansas City Royals                                                $9.24 million

Tampa Bay Rays                                                    $9.08 million

Florida Marlins                                                      $8.17 million